27th Jul, 2022 13:00

Pavilion Gardens, Buxton

  Lot 31

1965 Excalibur SS Series I
Built for actor Tony Curtis

Sold for £49,583

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: KSK 693
Chassis No: 1006
MOT: Exempt

  • The sixth Series I SS to be made
  • Built for and purchased by Hollywood legend Tony Curtis with photograph included
  • Exhibited at The Gilmore Classic Car Museum, USA, until 2006
  • Just 6,500 miles recorded
  • Powered by a Chevrolet 327ci 5358cc V8 engine
  • Reputed to do 0-60 MPH in 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 150 MPH

The Excalibur SS was an example of what has been referred as a ‘Neo Classic’, examples of which include the Stutz Blackhawk and Zimmer Golden Spirit. They recaptured the values of the 1930s, but with performance, reliability and luxury. Created as an expensive toy at a time, 50 years ago, when people also complained that all cars were looking the same. The perfect complement to a fantasy lifestyle many can only dream about. Car hedonism as you will. A time when there were little or no rules for building a car.

As a consultant to Studebaker and a renowned industrial designer, Brooks Stevens was asked to design a 'show car' for the 1964 New York Auto Show. His idea was essentially a love letter to the design of the 1927 Mercedes-Benz but built with Studebaker components. In those days, Studebaker imported Mercedes, so Brooks tied the Mercedes design to a Studebaker Daytona chassis and called it the 'Mercebaker. 'The prototype was built in just eight weeks, ready three nights before the New York Show at the New York Coliseum. Stevens set up his own company, SS Automobiles, with his sons William and David to build the car away from a floundering Studebaker brand. Since 1964, over 3,500 vehicles have been built.

Originally, the Series I Excalibur was an impressive performer, with its 0-60mph time of around six seconds and a top speed said to be more than 130mph from the Corvette sourced 327ci small-block Chevrolet V8. Only after the first 11 cars were built were smaller doors added for both driver and passenger. Unlike later Series cars the Series I had working side exhausts. Doorless, early examples of the Excalibur Series I are among the rarest and coveted of the company’s models. By 2003 the rights for everything Excalibur had passed to Wisconsin-based Excalibur Automotive Corporation, a small operation that exists to keep as many as possible of the 3500 Excaliburs built on the road.

The sixth production Series I SS Roadster built, Chassis No. 1006, was bought new by acting legend Tony Curtis c.late 1964/ early 1965. After a brief time in the possession of Mr Tony Curtis, the car was purchased directly by philanthropist Mr Donald S. Gilmore, an acquaintance of Walt Disney, on 16th February 1965 for display at his Gilmore Classic Car Museum, Michigan, until 2007. The car was put up for auction by the museum in 2006 with a mileage then of some 6,252 miles. In 2007 the car was for sale with the Motorcar Gallery of Fort Lauderdale, Florida where it caught the eye of the vendor who personally imported the car into the UK, registered as "KSK 693" on the 1st March 2008.

Included with the car are the transfer/tax declaration document from Tony Curtis to Mr Gilmore noting Tony Curtis' then home address at 1178 Loma Linda Drive, Beverly Hills 90210 and even a photo of him with the car on the Warner Bros. Studio backlot during a publicity shoot for The Great Race (1965).

The low mileage is highly credible due to the fact that from a month or so old it was in the Gilmore collection and on display in the museum until 2006. In the current ownership the Excalibur has been well-maintained for the road, including; a brake master cylinder, water pump, new plugs, oil filter, oil change, electronic ignition at 6212 (2008); brake overhaul (2009); recommissioning work (2014). Its history file includes the aforementioned provenance records and a collection of old MOTs. Classic & Sportscar Magazine featured this very car in April 2015, a copy of which is on file along with the aforementioned documents.

For more information, please contact:
Roy Hitchman
07718 584216


Auction: Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, 27th Jul, 2022


Tuesday 26th July 2022 from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 27th July 2022 from 9am

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